We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A monument of collective hysteria and folly

When I ventured to criticise them in a BBC interview for acting beyond their powers I received a letter from the Derbyshire police commissioner objecting to my remarks on the ground that in a crisis such things were necessary. The implication was that in a crisis the police were entitled to do whatever they thought fit, without being unduly concerned about their legal powers. That is my definition of a police state.

Lord Sumption

Art for art sake

I recently saw the question asked (and answered very haltingly): can you separate the art from the artist?

Having watched, read, listened to works by variously kinds of socialists, racists, religious wackos, and people with all manner of other assorted loathsome world views… yes, one can most certainly separate the author from the work, the artist from the art, as the works can stand on their own. One can appreciate what Leni Riefenstahl or Sergei Eisenstein or Zhang Guanzhe did without embracing the ideologies they propagandised or caring much about the artist. Daesh nasheeds are a really interesting form of music. The Joker dancing on those stairs was dancing to music written by Gary Glitter. So what? The music is fabulous.

HP Lovecraft, know these days as much for his of-his-times racism, was hugely influential culturally with many who followed for reasons unrelated to that. As a teenager, I was introduced to Lovecraft’s works by a Jamaican fan, and he had a really interesting theory as to why HPL wrote what and how he did (tl’dr: he was terrified of The Other, which informs his entire opus).

If you can’t transcend the fact people who see the world differently (and often horribly) can nevertheless make astonishingly good things… well, your loss.

Alexa? What is a ‘backlash’?

“Trump faces backlash for removing mask on return to White House”

backlash /ˈbaklaʃ/ noun: a process in which people who dislike a politician continue to dislike him, but more loudly, whilst supporters continue to support them, also more loudly

Douglas Murray gives his thoughts on looting

I LOL’ed but he is not wrong.

Make companies product-focused again

Coinbase Inc Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong has offered a severance package to employees unwilling to cope with the cryptocurrency exchange’s new policy of not entertaining discussions on societal and political issues.

Armstrong’s email, which a source said was sent on Tuesday, follows an earlier blog post published on Sunday, where he said the company would not engage in issues unrelated to its core mission.

The firm would not advocate for any political causes unrelated to its mission, he said.

In the email to employees, the CEO detailed packages which include four months’ severance pay for those who have been at the exchange for less than three years, with long-term employees receiving six months severance pay.

Reuters

Bravo!

I would love to see every company do this. When I go to a coffee shop or a bank, I am not interesting in their views about politics or social issues, indeed, I actively do not want to know. I just want a fucking coffee or to arrange something financial (hopefully not confusing the two). If they want to tell me about how yummy their products are because their beans are lovingly rubbed with civet poo, or how well they are looking after their depositors’ money, that is fine.

But pretty much anything else… please just STFU unless it is directly related to the business. I get that certain ‘life style’ brands might want their logo in a Formula One car or on Eddie Izzard’s frock. But I am not interested in how inclusive the local bookstore is, nor do I want to hear that an auto-parts shop is proud of the blasted NHS.

I do not even want any companies declaiming how much they support causes I like, let alone ones that I either oppose or which just make me roll my eyes at the sheer presumption of their marketing department. For me, this is negative marketing. I already avoid certain shops and restaurants that prominently display their ‘social awareness’ to me: they are actually doing the opposite, emphasising that I am not their target market. So I take them at their word and if I can easily get what they sell elsewhere from someone who doesn’t, that is what I always do.

Make companies product-focused again.

Samizdata quote of the day

Perish the thought that we may allow those pesky Africans to export food to the UK without tariffs. If we allow that they might not need our charity, then how would we feel superior to them?

Sandy Wallace

Samizdata practical advice of the day

If you find yourself moved to attend a public protest in the UK, but are not a member of a group that your local Plod choose to kneel in support of, might I suggest you protect yourself, because it is likely violent thugs may decide your protest is unwanted.

A good way to do this is by attending future protests with a good (but generic) motorbike helmet (which also means you are wearing a ‘face covering’, for Covid-19, you understand) and stout boots to protect your feet. Full biker leathers (also generic and unadorned) are optional but also have much to commend them, and these can be armoured and reinforced in all sorts of way.

Samizdata quote of the day

And so, an alcoholic stalker of ex-boyfriends, and who bases intimate relationships on revenge, has fathomed society’s problems. And it’s all Whitey’s fault.

David Thompson.

I urge you to read the whole article (from 2018) as it is, to use the technical term, fuckin’ hilarious 😛

Samizdata quote of the day

There is a noticeable aspect of the language used when the people protest against a left-wing dictator like Lukashenko: You won’t see him identified as left-wing.

John Anderson

Samizdata quote of the day

The shift from “it’s immoral to tell another culture’s story” to “it’s impossible to tell another culture’s story, but in any case, one shouldn’t try for moral reasons” is part of a process Pluckrose and Lindsay describe as “reification”, which emerged after I’d left the ivory tower and commenced moving companies around and drafting commercial leases for a living. Once reified, postmodern abstractions about the world are treated as though they are real things, and accorded the status of empirical truth. Contemporary social justice activism thus sees theory as reality, as though it were gravity or cell division or the atomic structure of uranium.

The correspondence theory of truth holds that objective truth exists and we can learn something about it through evidence and reason. That is, things are knowable and we gain reliable information about them when our beliefs align with reality. It’s termed “the correspondence theory of truth” because a statement is considered true when it corresponds with reality and false when it doesn’t. Reality, of course, is the thing that does not change regardless of what you believe.

Helen Dale

Samizdata quote of the day

We can tell when it’s politics being talked about for the solution to a current problem is always whatever it was that the person wanted to do anyway. If the economy’s growing then we must reduce inequality, if the economy is shrinking then we must reduce inequality and when the Sun rises in the east we must reduce inequality.

Tim Worstall, modestly suggesting we need to sacrifice a few more virgins to the NHS

Things that make you go “Mmmm…”

Whilst I would hardly describe Sweden as a bastion of civil liberty, when one looks at the place in 2020, the justification for a great many things in a great many other nations starts to look increasingly hard to credit.